Extreme Buddhist detox or luxury rehab resort in Thailand?

Extreme Buddhist detox or luxury rehab resort in Thailand?

Thailand has gained popularity as a top rehab destination because of its tropical weather, magnificent scenery, rich culture and history, superb cuisine, and warm hospitality. Being a top-rated tourist destination, Thailand has become aware of the Western standards of comfort, and their medical facilities are no different. 

When it comes to choosing a rehab in Thailand, it all comes down to the individual’s unique circumstance and finding the right facility for their needs. Whether going to a luxury rehab or taking more extreme measures at a traditional Thai monastery (Wat Thamkrabok) is more suitable to their needs, we will explore both options for people to make the right choice. 

This article will look at the differences between an extreme Buddhist detox approach and luxury rehab facilities. We will break down each facility’s critical aspects such as the setting, accommodation, treatment philosophy, etc. 

Luxury Rehab Facilities 

When people think of rehab, they picture an adverse and challenging experience in an environment that is not very inviting. However, Thailand has done an excellent job of combining all the necessary functions of a rehab center while also offering clients resort-like amenities, world-class standards of care, and a more considerable wellness experience that emphasizes a getting away from it all like feeling. 

Many people tend to shy away from anything with the word “luxury” in it because of its potentially steep price point; however, people from all walks of life can take advantage of the benefits, especially when the cost of rehab in Thailand can be almost a third of the price in the Western world.  A luxury rehab center is not all about having a comfortable bed and hotel facilities; there can also be many more benefits than a traditional rehab. Some others include; personalized treatment, alternative and holistic care, chef-prepared meals, peaceful surroundings, and world-class programs.

Treatment Approach

Treatment methods vary from center to center, but what is common among professional rehabs is that they provide treatment in stages. In a professional rehab facility, the first stage is a medical and psychological evaluation to determine whether the patient needs to undergo detox and if there’s any co-occurring conditions. Depending on the type of substance, they may be under medication for several days or weeks so that the body can re-accustom itself to living without substances.

The second stage involves some form of individual and group therapy rooted in psychological treatment. Individual and group counseling sessions are standard parts of the treatment process. It allows patients to retake control of their thought processes and bond with other addicts to learn from them and receive support from people going through the same things they are. 

When primary treatment is over, the rehab center is also there to help a patient reintegrate into society by assisting them in making living arrangements, attending meetings, and receiving outpatient counseling. This final stage of care is designed to provide ongoing support and assistance for continued sobriety.  

Holistic Care 

One of the reasons why rehabilitation in Thailand works is due to their ability to combine traditional and holistic approaches in the recovery process. Besides having some of the best counseling and therapies offered, luxury rehabs in Thailand will also have other complementary activities that can help with a patient’s recovery like fitness, meditation, yoga, biking, massage, etc., to physically and mentally help them on the road to recovery. 

Nutrition-based cuisine is another feature that people will be able to find at a luxury rehab. Thai food is known to be healthy and delicious, making use of natural and fresh ingredients, and it tastes great too. In addition to local cuisine, luxury rehabs can offer a range of different flavours from around the world.


Luxury rehabs offer comfortable rooms with quality linens and no chore requirements. While that may not seem important, having that included in the program gives patients a more relaxed and at-peace environment to get adequate rest and be more receptive to treatment. 

High-end rehabs are generally located in a luxurious and private setting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Not only is it in peaceful surroundings, but the look of the facilities themselves. Creating a space that is far from what a person envisions a rehab to look like gives patients the ability to entirely focus on recovery rather than having the possible anxiety of being trapped inside stark white walls with clinical furnishings.

Traditional Thai Monastery

There is a significant difference in approach between luxury rehab centers and a traditional Thai monastery. Luxury rehab options are great for people who want to have a wellness vacation while also recovering from their addiction. There is also an option of going to a monastery rehab which is run by monks and nuns north of Bangkok. This Thai monastery rehab is entirely free, apart from modest payments for food, as well as a voluntary donation. Yet the facility operates under strict rules, the accommodation is bare-bones, and the treatment methods are highly unorthodox.

Treatment Approach

Traditionally, addiction is considered a disease, and a person suffering from it is seen to have their brain processes hijacked, which makes it difficult for them to take back control. However, the monastery intend to teach people that they are ultimately in control of their actions. The only thing that is needed is the determination to face the issues and work through them. 

Wat Thamkrabok is an example of using a no-nonsense approach to heal addicts. They use the “cold turkey” approach to break the spell of addiction by using a secret formula for purging the body of its toxins. Every participant of the program goes through “vomit rehab” daily by drinking a liquid shot made with 108 herbs, which induces vomiting. 

This daily afternoon potion is so potent that it causes continuous vomiting for extended periods to wake up the body from the nightmare it has had to go through with addiction. The program also includes hot steam baths, consumption of different tonics, and adherence to a strict regimen of hard work. After the initial part of the treatment, participants are expected to start doing regular housekeeping duties. The monks and nuns also organize late afternoon meditation sessions to clear the mind and begin their daily chanting rituals in the evening. 


When participants of the program enter the monastery, all communication devices and outside clothes are surrendered. They are issued a sleeping mat and blanket and are secluded in their room for the first five days. Rather than having their room with luxury amenities, the room is shared with other addicts in the same program. 

The monastery accommodations are basic, with no single-rooms available, no air-conditioning, and no hot-water. What is considered Spartan living conditions is that the accommodation attempts to help block all movement and communication with the outside world and its temptations. The dorm-style room is shared with up to thirty other addicts in the same program. Because of the cultural and religious beauty of the setting, people can focus on their treatment and find the tradition of purification rituals that are very different from commonly accepted forms of treatment. 

Because it is a Buddhist rehab temple where monks and nuns are in charge, the food is prepared in the local style and is the only part of the program that needs to be paid for, while the other things from accommodation to treatment are free.


According to Thailand Rehab Guide, Buddhist rehab can be a good choice for individuals who are comfortable with basic accommodation and amenities, do not have a complicated addiction and co-occurring disorder that may require a multidisciplinary approach, have no health complications that may require medical support, have tried and failed to get clean at traditional rehab clinics, are ready and willing to change, and cannot afford treatment in a traditional residential setting. 


Both treatment options have their positives and negatives; ultimately, it comes down to the person that is deciding to come to Thailand to seek recovery. While luxury rehab combines the necessary functions of a rehab center with additional luxury amenities, traditional Buddhist rehab may help people gain control in ways they have never experienced before. While the methods may seem extreme, there is a reason why people continue to go to those facilities to seek help.